Author: Kris Ripper
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 08/22/2016
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Contemporary, Lesbian Romance
Jaq Cummings is a high school teacher who really wants a committed relationship—as long as it doesn’t keep her out late on school nights or interrupt Sunday mass with her dad. She is absolutely not about to fall for the hot-mess divorcée she hooks up with even if said hot mess pushes all her buttons. Jaq’s white knight days are over.
But one hookup with Hannah becomes two, then coffee, then more incredibly hot sex. And unlike most of Jaq’s exes, Hannah’s not looking for someone to come on strong. In fact, Hannah comes on plenty strong enough for both of them. But she’s just out of a disastrous marriage, she’s in the process of moving across the state, and Jaq can’t take a chance on yet another relationship where she defaults to being a caregiver instead of a partner.
Just when Jaq decides her relationship with Hannah is far too precarious, a crisis with a student reminds her of her priorities and makes it clear that sometimes, you have to take big risks to get what you really want.
When I read the previous book in this series, I was very confused about the soap opera titles as I did not really get that OTT dramatic/silly/hot mess feel from that story. However, after reading The Butch and the Beautiful, it all makes sense now! This story was fun; it was a mess; it played on stereotypes; it highlighted every aspect I remember from my soap opera addiction days. Everyone knows everyone, everyone is in everyone’s business, and everyone is involved in some superficial way in every storyline. Yet at the same time, each storyline is distinct enough to be read on its own, though you’ll enjoy the drama much more when read all together.
I loved Hannah and Jaq. Their personalities fit well together while also being very different. They had that perfect amount of unexplained rightness while having enough differences to cause some OTT drama and unnecessary misunderstandings. I have to admit, much of the first half of this story felt really slow and left me wondering why things were done as they were, but once the story was complete, it all made sense and worked well.
The biggest thing I loved about this story was the way the author spent so much time playing up stereotypes while subtly (then very blatantly) making very applicable statements on life in general. This book calmly brought light to issues of race, gender identity, homophobia, politics, and the state of our education system in such a way as to be profound but not preachy. I liked it. I loved that the romance was there, but it was not what made the biggest impression. And now I am fully invested and want to know more about these kids and the adults in La Vista. I want to see how things improve because there is a brewing movement for change that promises to be dramatic but impactful.
I am liking this series and look forward to reading more soon.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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